Home/ Companies / News/  Akasa eyes Singapore, Qatar, Oman in ’23

Akasa Air is looking to launch its international operations by the end of 2023 and is evaluating Singapore, the Middle East and the Gulf region, including Dammam, Qatar and Oman, as possible destinations, the airline’s chief commercial officer Praveen Iyer said.

Under India’s civil aviation regulations, an airline can start international operations with a fleet size of 20 aircraft. Akasa is likely to be one of the fastest in the world to add 20 aircraft after having started operations in August 2022. At present, it has 19 aircraft in its fleet.

“On 15 March, we initiated the application process, That’s the first step, and now we will start the real work and decide where we could fly to given the constraints. We are looking to launch international flights by end of the year," Iyer said on the sidelines of the CAPA aviation conference.

The airline is eyeing destinations in the Gulf, the Middle East, and the Far East. “We see a few markets where we don’t see capacity they should have. I can see Singapore, and a couple of markets in the Middle East and Gulf as well. Dammam is open skies. In the UAE, there are a couple of options barring Dubai, as well as Qatar and Oman. But, it is all about how airlines plan their networking."

While some of these destinations may be restricted due to foreign flying rights, Akaksa may benefit from airlines that have the rights, but do not use them, he added.

Since its launch, Akasa Air is operating over 700 flights in a week across 17 cities , including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Agartala, Visakhapatnam, Goa, Lucknow, Pune, Hyderabad, Bagdogra, Kolkata and Varanasi. The airline plans to commence point-to-point international connectivity within six hours of flight time from India with its narrow-body Boeing 737 MAX fleet.

“There are enough opportunities available within that radius. Indians like to explore new destinations. You offer the right connectivity, you will find travellers," he said.

In the domestic segment, Indian aviation market is making headlines worldwide as the demand has not only crossed pre-pandemic levels but is also sustaining in a traditionally lean travel period like the March quarter.

“Dabolim, the old airport in Goa, has 60-65 flights a day. Mopa (the new airport) has added 25-30 flights a day. Capacity has gone up by 50% but flights are full. Which part of the world have you heard this story.. nowhere. It can happen only in India," Iyer said.

As the supply chain issues are hampering the aircraft deliveries worldwide, Akasa expects to induct 6-7 aircraft in the next financial year and then around 12-16 airplanes are likely to be added every year taking the fleet size to 72 by 2027.

The induction of 6-7 airplanes in 12 months as compared to 19 jets in seven months will also help the airline further.

“It gives us a nice cushion to consolidate ourselves because we have been growing at a very fast pace. A lot of us are gasping for breath," Iyer said.

Unlike other Indian airlines, Akasa is faced with shortage of USB ports and seat fabric due to supply chain issues. The airline is hopeful of the resolution of these issues by the end of September quarter.

The airline will also join Air India in placing an aircraft order this year as it has earlier stated its plans to place a “sizeable" three-digit order by the end of the year to cater to its growth plans into the early 2030s.

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Updated: 22 Mar 2023, 12:04 AM IST
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